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Labor and Political Histories
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Labor and Political Histories

And the Wolf Finally Came (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1988), a contemporary labor history, examines American steel’s gradual deterioration after WorldWar II. At the heart of the book, Hoerr interweaves archival research with interviews of dozens of workers, union leaders and managers to show how widespread discontent on the mill-floor over working conditions and managerial authority undermined efforts to built a constructive union-management relationship. This is supplemented by a dramatic narrative of negotiations, strikes and plant shutdowns based on the author’s on-scene reportage in the 1980s as the steel industry shrank by one-third and hemorrhaged more than 100,000 jobs. Historian Maurine Weiner Greenwald of the University of Pittsburgh, said of this book, “Hoerr has the storytelling flair of a novelist, the political acumen of a social scientist, and the long-range perspective of an historian” (comment on dust jacket).

Harry, Tom and Father Rice: Accusation and Betrayal in America’s Cold War (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005) is a true story about three men whose lives intersect in an ugly red-baiting episode during McCarthy Era purges in Pittsburgh. One of the three, Hoerr’s uncle, Congressman Harry Davenport, destroys his career (and ultimately his life) in one act of political desperation. Meanwhile, his friend, Pittsburgh labor leader Tom Quinn, is falsely accused of communist activity in a 1949 congressional hearing arranged in part by Father Charles Owen Rice, a pro-union priest and fierce anti-communist crusader. It takes 10 years, and three appearances before congressional committees, but Quinn finally clears his name. Fifty years later, Hoerr exhumes the shameful McCarthyite tactics and betrayals that lay behind Quinn’s ordeal and Davenport’s decline.

With these two books, wrote a reviewer in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Hoerr “has become a leading chronicler of the demise of industrial America” (Bob Hoover, “How Three Lives Clashed at Crossroads of Labor and Politics,” August 21, 2005)

Click here to buy And the Wolf Finally Came from Amazon.com

Click here to buy Harry, Tom and Father Rice from Amazon.com